You may have wondered at some point in your life what would happen to your assets if you were to unexpectedly die. If you are like most of us, you quickly pushed those thoughts to the back of your mind, vowing to deal with them “later.” While few of us want to sit down and think about our eventual death, most adults recognize it is a topic that should be addressed. Many who have taken the step to have an estate plan drawn up may still find it awkward or uncomfortable to talk to family members about the estate plan.
It is extremely important to talk about your long-term care plans with your adult children or others who would be left to deal with your estate in the event of your death or incapacitation. Just remember, it is much better to have these conversations now than to wait until it is too late. Family Estate Planning Law Group’s Family Care Meeting™ is a great way to begin talks with your family about your estate plan. By bringing together your team, which can include your loved ones, our attorney team, a financial advisor, accountant, or any other professional you want to be included, the Family Care Meeting™ opens up communication, facilitating the conversation and answering questions from all those involved.
In addition to the Family Care Meeting™, you will find some tips below that can help you talk to your loved ones about your estate plan.
- Pick a time for your meeting when everyone is available, and no one is feeling rushed or needs to be somewhere else. Ideally, this time will be before there is a crisis or need to act. Everyone who is invited should be aware that the conversation will be about estate planning and retirement issues. Let everyone know that you understand this conversation could be uncomfortable, but that it is important to you that everyone listen and share their feelings and concerns. When you acknowledge right up front that this is a difficult conversation, everyone tends to be more open and honest.
- Money is always a difficult subject to discuss, however, it is essential that you be honest and open when discussing financial issues. There should be no secrets or surprises regarding who the beneficiaries of your estate will be—while there might be hurt feelings now, you can clearly make your wishes known. If there is a family business involved, this could be the time to discuss who will take over the reins of the company. For more on that, check out our recent blog post about business succession planning.
- If you or your spouse should become ill or incapacitated, who will have power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf? Make sure everyone involved is clear on this issue, so there will be no arguments later on. Remember, these decisions deal with both money and emotions.
- Make sure all your paperwork is in order when you are talking about retirement and estate planning. Have a list of all your important documents, ensuring those who will need the documents will be able to access them. If you have online documents, have a list of passwords, accounts, cloud storage, etc. for the person who will need access. Make sure others can find your health and life insurance policies, so they don’t spend days looking for necessary information.
- Make a list of every asset you own, including every account you owe money on, and every account that you collect money from. This significantly simplifies the process should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes. For those on our client care program, we will also be tracking this information for you and will be available as a resource to your loved one should you no longer be able to communicate this.
- When necessary, bring in a professional to assist in this conversation, to provide guidance or information during the discussion, or even to moderate if you think there will be arguments between family members.
How Family Estate Planning Law Group Can Help You Discuss Your Estate Plan with Your Family Members
At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we believe that relationship, planning, and preparation are the key elements to estate planning and planning for your golden years. We have a deep belief in our tagline—Together, We Plan for Life®. You will experience many changes in your life, and we, at Family Estate Planning Law Group, are here to help you plan for those changes. We have an unparalleled commitment to our clients reflected in our Family Care Meeting™, as well as our ongoing client care program. We want to be your partner in the protection of your family. We invite you to explore our blog and schedule your complimentary consultation today.